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Facts About Fat


What's So Bad About Fat?

Fat is a nutrient that many people find appealing because it provides flavor and contributes to the satisfaction you feel after eating a meal. Naturally because fat tastes so good, we want to eat fat and foods that contain a high percentage of it

Excess fat in the diet continues to be impli­cated in the development of many major health problems afflicting us today, such as heart dis­ease and certain types of cancer. High-fat diets also contribute to the development of obesity, a growing concern for many individuals. Thus lies the problem in consuming too much fat.

On the average, Americans get about 38 per­cent of their daily calories from fat. Health and nutrition experts recommend people over the age of twenty reduce fat to an average of 30 per­cent—less than one-third—of daily calories.






Calories                   Fat(g)                Fat (g


1200                       40                         13

1500                       50                          17

1800                       60                          20

2100                       70                          23

2400                       80                          27

2700                       90                          30

3000                       100                         33


The problem lies in the amount of fat we eat, not in fat itself. In reality, some fat is good for us. It is our only source of linoleic acide, a fatty

acid essential for proper growth, healthy skin and the metabolism of cholesterol. Fat also plays an essential role in the transport, absorp­tion and storage of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). In addition, fat helps the body use car­bohydrate and protein more efficiently. And lastly, fat does play an important role in insulat­ing and cushioning our body and organs.

We also recognize that some fats are worse than others. Along with limiting the total amount of fat we eat, it's also recommended that we cut back on the amount of saturated fat we eat. All dietary fat is made up of a combina­tion of three types of fatty acids: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Because saturated fat has been linked to high blood cho­lesterol levels, a major risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD), it's recommended that we reduce our intake of this type of fat to no more than 10 percent of daily calories.

Animal foods such as meats, eggs and dairy products including cheese, butter and cream contain the greatest amounts of saturated fats. Tropical fats—coconut, palm and palm kernel oils—are unique because they are derived from plant sources, yet they contain significant amounts of saturated fats. Finally, the hydro-genation process, used to increase shelf life and stability, changes unsaturated fatty acids into a more saturated state.

Even as nutrition experts advise us to reduce the amount of fat in our diet, we should strive for an overall approach to eating that encour­ages moderation. What this means is that all foods can be part of a healthy diet if we learn to control how much of them we eat. Enjoying reasonable-sized portions of all the foods we like---whether high in fat or not-is key to healthy eating.